Fun Mugger Crocodile Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Mugger crocodile facts are interesting to read.

Do you have a fascination for crocodiles? If yes, then you have come to the right place to learn about one of the species that predominantly resides on the Indian subcontinent.

The mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is a medium-sized freshwater crocodile present in different parts of northern India, southern India, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and in other nearby countries. The crocodile is also called the Indian mugger crocodile because of its huge population in the country.

This intelligent crocodilian species inhabits either slow-moving or stagnant water bodies.

Even though the species is considered an apex predator, the mugger is sympathetic to other animals and has become good friends with the gharials. Adults are known for their huge appetite, and can easily munch down on an animal that is slightly smaller than its own size.

Keep on reading to learn more mugger crocodile facts. Also, check out the articles on the saltwater crocodile and the gharial.

Mugger Crocodile Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mugger crocodile?

The mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is a type of medium-sized crocodile species.  

What class of animal does a mugger crocodile belong to?

The mugger crocodile belongs to the class Reptilia and to the genus Crocodylus.

How many mugger crocodiles are there in the world?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, around 5400-7100 individuals of the mugger crocodile population are present in the wild. However, in India, thousands of mugger crocodiles are present in captivity.

The majority of the wild population is found in India and Sri Lanka. The estimated wild population of India is about 2500-3500 mugger crocodiles.

Where does a mugger crocodile live?

The mugger crocodile or the marsh crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) is present in countries like India, Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bhutan. The mugger crocodile's historic distribution stretched to Bangladesh, but the population there is now regarded to be extinct.

What is a mugger crocodile's habitat?

As a freshwater animal, the mugger crocodile's habitat is mainly in environments that have slow or steady water bodies, marshes, ponds, hill streams, and other shallow water bodies. The mugger crocodiles are also found in the Himalayas, so the crocodile can adapt to living in mountainous areas.

The body temperature of the crocodile is very important, and it cannot stand a temperature above 100°F (38°C). The mugger crocodile tolerance for cold weather is also bad, and it faces the threat of dying when the temperature dips below 41°F (5°C).

The crocodiles can also be spotted in human-made reservoirs. This crocodile species doesn't have a habit of migration, and it inhabits the same place during wet and dry seasons.

Who do mugger crocodiles live with?

Like other crocodile species, the marsh crocodile also congregates and lives with others from its species. The mugger crocodile can often be seen basking by a water body along with its group mates. These crocodiles are sympathetic to gharials (Gavialis gangeticus), so both animals can often be seen hunting together.

How long does a mugger crocodile live?

The average lifespan of muggers is around 25-31 years.

How do they reproduce?

One crucial detail about the female mugger crocodiles is their habit of digging holes to lay the eggs. Along with the purpose of keeping the eggs warm, laying eggs in a hole may also save them from common nest predators like dingoes and crows.

It can take up to six and a half years for marsh crocodile females to become sexually mature.

The female mugger crocodile's anatomy fully matures after reaching a length of about 6-7 ft. For the adult male, sexual maturity may come once it reaches a length of more than 8 ft. The breeding season of mugger crocodiles starts in November, so the eggs can be laid between February and June.

Females dig holes measuring 1.1-1.8 ft (35-56 cm), and the place is usually far away from a waterbody. The average clutch size is between 25-30 eggs; however, it can be as low as eight eggs.

A mugger crocodile fun fact is that the sex of hatchlings depends on the temperature in which it lives during the incubation period. More sunny sites give rise to the possibility of more male crocodiles.

In South India, the eggs hatch in the months of April and June, while in Sri Lanka, it takes place in August and September.

Hence, the hatching period of the eggs will depend on the mugger crocodile's location. The broad snout of the female adults helps it to carry the young to the water.

What is their conservation status?

The mugger crocodile IUCN or International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List status is Vulnerable. The freshwater crocodilians have become vulnerable to the dwindling habitat.

It is also commonly hunted by humans because of perceived threats. Humans also hunt the eggs of the marsh mugger crocodile, making the species even more unprotected. Some crocodiles also become a part of accidental hunting as it gets caught in fishnets.

Mugger Crocodile Fun Facts

What do mugger crocodiles look like?

Kids would love to learn mugger crocodile facts.

It is important to know the physical characteristics of mugger crocodiles to easily identify them in the wild. The adult mugger crocodiles are dark olive in color with black spots, but they can also have a grey or brown color.

It often has a muddy appearance because it lives near the water. The crocodiles are covered with rough skin and scales.

The mugger crocodile's head is special because of its broad snout. The marsh crocodile's broad-snouted characteristic makes them one of the only crocodiles with such a broad snout.

It is almost impossible to tell apart the females from the males, except that the former is a tad smaller.

The difference between mugger crocodile vs. gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is mainly in appearance, as the gharial is known for having a very narrow snout. As these crocodiles have short feet, the belly of a mugger crocodile often touches the ground while it walks.

The reptiles also have a long and powerful tail. When it comes to the young crocodiles, it is often lighter in color compared to the adults of the species.

How cute are they?

Well, these freshwater crocodile species can seldom be described as cute. Some may even call these crocodiles ferocious for being a potential threat to human beings. However, the majestic size of these crocodiles does deserve mention.

How do they communicate?

The nose and eyes of the mugger crocodiles play an important role in judging the environment, especially when the crocodile is swimming. The tactile sense on its skin also plays a vital role while the animal is submerged underwater, and the skin also helps in feeling vibrations.

While on the surface, the marsh crocodile uses its eyes, nose, and ears. An interesting thing about muggers is their use of tools to lure prey like birds.

It is one of the only reptiles that are known for tool usage. The males often use tail thrashing as a way to show their power.

How big is a mugger crocodile?

The average size of the mugger crocodile range between 6.5-11.4 ft (2-3.5 m). The females are slightly smaller than the males. The muggers are similar in size or slightly smaller than the saltwater crocodile that grows to an average size of 7.5-17 ft (2.3-5.2 m).

How fast can a mugger crocodile run?

The mugger crocodile found in the Indian subcontinent has a slow gait, and the slow-moving animal often has to drag its belly to reach from one destination to another. However, we can easily assume that this broad-snouted mugger crocodile can easily have a swimming speed of 15-18 mph like its close allies, the saltwater crocodile.

How much does a mugger crocodile weigh?

The average weight of the Asian mugger crocodile is around 88-440 lb (40-200 kg). However, the big adult crocodiles will surely weigh more.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The mugger crocodile males are known as bulls, while the mugger crocodile females are known as cows.

What would you call a baby mugger crocodile?

A baby mugger crocodile is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

The diet of the mugger crocodile consists of any animal that is smaller than its size. The mugger crocodile preys on animals like birds, bats, vertebrates, crustaceans, and even snakes.

Rather than moving to prey, the mugger species prefers to sit and wait to fulfill its diet. However, in the dry season, the slow-moving species can also move from one place to another in search of prey. The prey is usually dragged into the water before it is eaten.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, the mugger crocodiles are extremely dangerous. The mugger crocodile's bite force makes them one of the strongest predators and the species is known for having the ability to kill humans. The males become more territorial and aggressive during their mating season.

Would they make a good pet?

No, a pet mugger crocodile should never come to your mind. These are wild predatory animals that cannot reside with human beings. Alongside this, as a vulnerable species, these crocodiles are also protected under law, making them illegal to keep as pets.

Did you know...

The mugger crocodile is one of the three crocodilians present in India, the other two being the saltwater crocodile and the gharial. Among the three, the mugger crocodile is known for being the most deadly.

The main mugger crocodile vs. saltwater crocodile difference lies in its habitat. The saltwater crocodiles live in areas with brackish water, whereas the mugger crocodile prefers a habitat with freshwater environments. In Pakistan, the mugger crocodile can be found in the Indus basin.

How long do mugger crocodiles incubate their eggs for?

The mugger crocodile eggs are incubated by the adult females for 55-75 days, a little more than two months.

Where does the mugger crocodile get its name from?

The name mugger originates from the Hindi or Urdu word 'magar' which is a commonly used word for crocodiles in India. The meaning of the word magar can be said to be 'water monsters'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles including the Cuban crocodile and the Chinese alligator.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Mugger crocodile coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit Shinde picture

Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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